By Poorna Bell, Executive Editor, HuffPost UK
We could bombard you with stats about how many women in Britain have never had an orgasm or find it difficult to have one, but why start on a bum note?
Instead, we’ve put together a brilliant expert panel who have years of advice about what the key concerns might be, why some women find it harder than others and how to make sure you do end up having that bed-shattering moment. After all, why should men have all the fun?
The first question that a lot of women ask is – how do you know when you’ve had one?
Not to sound crude ladies, but if you have to ask the question or query it in the heat of the moment, the chances are you probably aren’t having one.
We spoke to twice-married 47-year-old Kim Smith who was part of the Ann Summers TV doc and sex toy panel, to create the ultimate sex toy for orgasm virgins. She had never had one before, and has finally had one with her finished product but has yet to have an orgasm through sexual intercourse with a man.
She said: “Orgasms were not something that was spoken about. I used to think, alright, I’ve had sex and now I need to pee, and that’s it. It wasn’t until a girly night 8 or 9 years ago that we were talking about it. I said: “I don’t see what the big deal is, you have sex, you think about the shopping or whatever while doing it, he shoots his load and then you go to the loo. I didn’t realise that sensation was actually me on the way to having an orgasm. I thought that if I went beyond that feeling, I would pee myself.”
There are two types of female orgasm: clitoral and vaginal
A vaginal orgasm is when a woman orgasms through penetration, a clitoral orgasm is when the clitoris is stimulated. The latter is the easiest and most common form of orgasm.
But why is it so hard? (No pun intended). Mike Lousada, an expert in psychosexual therapy spoke to HuffPost UK Lifestyle, saying: “Male orgasmic response is a much simpler mechanical process when compared to a woman’s orgasm. A female orgasm is much more complex and is more connected to her affective and cognitive functions as well as physiological ones – how they feel about themselves and their partner.
“So a woman needs to “feel safe” to have an orgasm. The vigilance centre in women’s brains actually shuts down (far more than in men) during orgasm which means she needs to feel safe enough to relax into orgasm and let go. I believe that social conditioning also plays a significant role in female orgasmic problems. Men are often seen as “sexual” and women as “sexy” – that is women evoke desire, men enact it. This is a social construct and a total nonsense in my judgement. Women are at least as sexual as men.”
BREAKING DOWN THE SCIENCE
- The rush you start to feel is the result of blood heading straight to your vagina and clitoris. Around this time, the walls of the vagina start to secrete beads of lubrication that eventually get bigger and flow together.
- Blood continues to flood the pelvic area, breathing speeds up, heart rate increases, nipples become erect, and the lower part of the vagina narrows in order to grip the penis while the upper part expands to give it someplace to go.
- An incredible amount of nerve and muscle tension builds up in the genitals, pelvis, buttocks, and thighs — until your body involuntarily releases it all at once in a series of intensely pleasurable waves, aka your orgasm.
- The big bang is the moment when the uterus, vagina, and anus contract simultaneously at 0.8-second intervals. A small orgasm may consist of three to five contractions; a biggie, 10 to 15.
Suzi Godson, sex columnist at The Times, says that there may be a more technical reason for why orgasms are so elusive. “In an ideal world, men would have an L shaped penis, or women would have a clitoris inside, rather than outside, their vaginas, but until evolution provides, we have to work with a major design flaw.
Men are more likely to orgasm when sex includes vaginal intercourse, but only about 20% of women can orgasm through penetration alone. Women primarily need clitoral stimulation to achieve orgasm, but unfortunately, the most sexually sensitive part of the female anatomy is situated approximately 2.5centimetres north of all the action. As a result, 75% of men always have an orgasm when they have sex; only 28.6 % of women do.
“This basic discrepancy ought to be taught in sex education as most teenage boys enter their early relationships under the false impression that if you stick it in the right way a girl will have an orgasm and when this fails to happen, it causes feelings of stress and inadequacy to both parties.”
THE BIG O IN NUMBERS:
- 47% climaxed for the first time through masturbation
- 32% through sexual intercourse
- 20% through petting
- 1% while sleeping.
So the question is, if we’re in a relationship with a man and he thinks he’s satisfying us but obviously isn’t, how do we start that conversation? Dr Corey Allan Ph D, marriage and family therapist says: “Honesty is the best policy. And sometimes by being honest, you become more inventive and add novelty to the experience. Sometimes couples can forget about the pleasure of sex.
“They get too caught up in life together, family, roles, jobs, arguments, etc. and forget about their biological pleasures and urges. Re-learning to have sex just for sex’s sake can provide a great break from the mundane of the day to day, so long as the sex is not mundane!”
Mike certainly agrees with opening the lines of communication but don’t put too much pressure on trying to have one. He added: “Good sex is about good communication. Of course everyone is different, but I’d say that in general women need to ask for what they want and men need to listen and respond to that. Technique is only about 10% of helping a woman orgasm. The rest is about helping them relax and feel safe. The irony is the more you pressure yourself (or your partner) to have orgasm, the further away its going to go.”
There’s no point blaming the men either, although Kim says: “Guys can be selfish in their own way, most don’t really care whether you have climaxed or not.”
Suzi adds: “Ultimately, women have to be responsible for ensuring their own sexual satisfaction. Men are not telepathic and if a woman has a partner who is unwilling, unable or too anatomically clueless to provide her with the kind of stimulation that she requires to achieve orgasm, the onus is on her to communicate her needs. Ideally, she does this by praising what he does that is working well. Failing that, a more direct approach may be required.”
The good thing about National Orgasm Day is that it does force us to address the subject even if we may not want to. Kim agrees that it is still somewhat of a taboo subject. “We need to educate each other as well,” she says. “We need to stop being embarrassed about female masturbation – why is it okay for guys to discuss it and not us? It just feels like women are being suppressed. The older generation need to be able to discuss it more.”